Liam's Lemonade Stand

In my last blog post I talked about Nora as a Saver, a term from the Evolutionary Method. She was easy to identify. Girlfriend is happiest rolled up in a blanket on the couch.

You might be a Saver if…

You might be a Saver if…

My nine year old, Liam, however, had me stumped. My first guess was Lever, like myself. Levers collaborate and, well, leverage the things and people around us to accomplish what’s needed. We see the big picture so it’s easy to direct, lead….errr micro-manage…

But he is also such an Earner! He wants to make money and he thinks of ways to do it. He is nine years old and would spend a weekend day knocking on neighbors’ doors asking if he can help with any yard work for money. Or planning his next lemonade stand.

But then he saves the money! I’ve borrowed from that kid’s bank account more than once...so maybe he’s a Saver…

Saving his money…but with a plan for what it will do for him!

Saving his money…but with a plan for what it will do for him!

And what about when he plans to donate part of his earnings to charity? Does that make him a Giver?

I brought all of these questions to my friend, Erin, founder of Project Evolve, a practitioner of the Evolutionary Method for years.

She reminded me that there are four Currencies. Everyone immediately thinks of money, and that’s one of them, but there’s also relationships, health (also referred to as energy), and time. Everyone values and uses these currencies in different ways.

We riff about it in the video below, where she surprises me, but completely convinces me that Liam is an Investor. Innovation, productivity, success, charm, ability to multiply value, energy, enjoyment...ding, ding, ding… all qualifiers of an Investor and all characteristics of my sweet boy. Most of all, though, he invests in the currencies that he holds most valuable. My guesses would be money and relationships.

He’s not building because he likes to build, he’s building because he loves his mom and I asked him to help

He’s not building because he likes to build, he’s building because he loves his mom and I asked him to help

Liam’s Lemonade Stands. Do you have a kid interested in having a lemonade stand? Any Natured child could be interested in having a lemonade stand and making some money, but usually they have different motivations and it boils down to which currency they value the most.

Nora is a Saver, but she doesn’t have a ton of money saved and isn’t necessarily drawn to a lemonade stand because her motivation is to save her time and energy for what she likes to do -- play with friends. (Relationships.)

Liam values money and relationships, so he usually buddies up and splits the earnings from a lemonade stand. He’s an Investor, so he invests time and energy into making sure the product is good, the poster has all the details, the spot is perfect… and works easily with his friend to rake in the cash. (And whoa, he does.) He gets his return on his investment by padding his wallet and having fun with a friend.

Liam and his friend set up the perfect spot for their lemonade stand at the Memorial Day parade

Liam and his friend set up the perfect spot for their lemonade stand at the Memorial Day parade

Teach your kids about overhead! You can be their investor and help them get the lemonade, provide the table, and front the change for the drawer. Explain that after the stand is done they will owe the cost of the lemonade and the amount that started in the cash drawer. Anything left over is their profit.

That lesson can be a tough one the first time and we don’t need to completely crush our nine year olds with the reality of net profit, ruining their entrepreneurial spirit forever, so when he counted out the money for the lemonade and then the money for the drawer and looked meekly at the couple of dollars left in his hands, I took the opportunity to give the lemonade overhead back and tell him that I’m donating the lemonade this time and that he can use the profit to reinvest into the next venture.

Sometimes our lessons can just be with Love and not Tough Love.

My Burrito-Babe is Not a Lazy Kid

My Burrito-Babe NEEDS me to wrap her up after a long and luxurious bath. Such a Saver.

My Burrito-Babe NEEDS me to wrap her up after a long and luxurious bath. Such a Saver.

Do you have a kiddo who gets home from school and essentially wraps themself in a blanket, burrito-style, and naps or completely zones out with TV or books?

My 7 year old needs a lot of down time. All kids need to rest their body, but Nora doesn’t mess around. She is what’s called a Saver. This term comes from The Evolutionary Method. There are a pantload of personality assessments out there, and you can stack them for a well-rounded overview of human character information, but this methodology looks at how you’re hardwired. Nora will save all the things; she has collections and piles of miniature toys, tights she never wears, stuffed animals... but the main reason I identify her as a Saver is by how she saves her energy.

My Saver wants to save her birthday pinata from being smashed.

My Saver wants to save her birthday pinata from being smashed.

When I pick Nora up from school she is beyond ready to be home. I could tell her I’m bringing her to her favorite restaurant for dinner and she would burst into tears, begging to just go home. Going roller-skating or to a friend’s house directly from school? You may as well have told her she’s getting a baby root canal. However, if her body is rested, she’s up for almost anything.

I wouldn’t peg her as an introvert, although it’s possible she could be an extroverted introvert by how she needs to recharge burrito-style. At one point in time I was also concerned she had Lyme disease or anemia.

(Quick side-note regarding her health-- like me, Nora has candida overgrowth and it can present itself as sluggish behavior. I started her on the best probiotic ever and her mood and eczema has improved. She wakes up in a better mood and goes to bed easier. The probiotic is the only one I’ve found that has Chitinases, an enzyme that breaks down the hard shell called Chitin surrounding a candida cell. Other probiotics bounce off it and you’re basically swallowing your money without the microorganisms able to destroy the overgrowth.)


And yet, she still wants to chill with two blankets, four stuffies, and the TV on. I’m just not concerned that she is physically incapable of doing anything else, it’s nature. Literally.

Surrounded by collections of items? Yup. Saver.

Surrounded by collections of items? Yup. Saver.

Let your Saver relax. It may be hard to transition them, but you know this. You now have information on the hard-wiring of your child and you can set transition tools into play. I have argued and snapped at her. I’ve threatened to take away privileges and there have been tears from everyone. When I set an expectation of collaboration, she agreed. I build in rest time for her and she is willing to cooperate because she knows I’ve respected her needs. If we have to go to the grocery store immediately after school then I make sure she has a break when she gets home.

I’ve loved meeting my friend, Erin’s, Saver Daughter, who is a teenager. For more insight on the teenage version check out Erin’s post about her kids’ natures.


It’s a collaboration. It’s making sure needs of the family are met, but needs of the individual are met. This is the first post in a three part series about collaborating with the Natures in your household. Keep in mind that the digital assessment online now for The Evolutionary Method’s way to Find Your Nature is meant for adults to take. There are certain nuances in assessing children and Project Evolve will be sharing the development of how to assess the nature of your child in an upcoming, local Workshop Series.

“Conscious Parenting” is being aware of your needs and your child’s needs. It’s engaging and connecting at an emotionally intelligent level and using that to guide discipline as well. Using The Evolutionary Method to find your child’s Nature is another piece of information to help you practice Conscious Parenting.

Getting Your Ducks in a Row

I’m listening to Mike Dooley’s audiobook about “Leveraging the Universe and Engaging the Magic.” He jumps into this analogy that...whoa...I need need need to share. I’ll paraphrase his words.

If your goal is to get your proverbial ducks in a row it may be a little more literal than you’d think. Dooley says to think about how a Mother Duck gets her Baby Ducks to follow her in those sweet parading lines that we picture in our minds from “Make Way for Ducklings.” She doesn’t quack and nag them and run around like mad. She simply goes. She moves forward and the other ducks follow.

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Brain….boom...WUT!? Want to get your sh*t together? What if it’s so simple as to take a step forward. Stop running in circles, chasing your ducks, just move forward.

Someone once told me that he thinks I make things unnecessarily difficult for myself. I got angry. I was deeply insulted. WTF does this guy know about MY life? HE doesn’t HAVE children. He’s not solo parenting those non-existent children. All he has to do every day is sleep, do some work, and drink beer. What does he even know about DIFFICULT??

Sometimes people put a “mirror” in front of our faces with their statements. That particular time in my life I was feeling out of control of many things. I felt like a disaster. Career, co-parenting, finances, this that and the other unfair “bad luck,” LIFE...was not anything like a line of ducks.

I felt like it wasn’t fair for him to judge me, things were difficult and I had all of the reasons for why that was. Yet, what I wasn’t doing was moving forward. I did, eventually take the step , and just like Mama Duck keep going, but I wasn’t at that point. It felt like I had to do so much, the story of a martyr.

You’ll hear this a lot from me going forward: drop the victim story. And if that makes a million reasons flood you and you feel judged and angry and like YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT I’VE GONE THROUGH… you’re right. But what if that doesn’t have to prevent you from moving forward and getting your ducks in a row?

But HOW?

Get clear on what you want.

When I was feeling most out of control I was asked several times, “What do you want?” and I would cry in response. I’m not exaggerating, that question would prompt a burst of tears every single time. It wasn’t just that I didn’t know what I wanted (even though that would be my answer), I eventually realized that I didn’t believe in what I wanted. My vision of what I wanted seemed impossible.

Here’s a secret about what’s possible and impossible in your life. Come up with the craziest thing you really want in your life. Find someone (hello, internet) who HAS or DOES those things. Recognize that if it is possible for someone it is possible for you. One person negates your theory of impossible. Impossible means it can never happen. Possible means that it actually, maybe, probably actually could...because, look, someone did.

One thing I got clear on was finding work where not only can I be myself, but I’m valued for who I am and what my skills are. Someone/somewhere that acknowledges the quality of what I produce so much that if I say, my child has a special writing celebration today, is it ok if I pop out for that? I know the answer is yes. Because in my scenario being a present mom is important to me and that’s respected by the people I work with. I help the business grow in a recognizable manner, where I believe in what they’re doing and we all want to celebrate each other.

The minute I got clear about it, I was amazed to not only get an offer to join a company called Project Evolve as their Director of Family & Education, but also to consult for a financial advisor’s company and their completely different, holistic approach to helping people achieve their financial goals. I get to do all of the things that I geek out about: systems and operations, marketing, event planning, writing and discussing about parenting and education. Working with people who are flexible, value me, and respect my role as a professional (who is also a parent). I respect them, who they are, their methods, and want nothing else than to be a part of their team.

Call it manifesting, call it getting your ducks in a row...call it--Katie, you f**king deserve this! I promise the first step to GO is getting clear. Mama Duck is clear that it’s time to cross the road, she goes. Ducks to follow.

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Playing With Your Kids Is More Than Just Fun For Them

#playwithyourkids

#playwithyourkids

Confession: I don’t play with my kids as often as I want to or feel like I should. I’m talking actively engaged in age-appropriate play. Pathways gives a quick run-down of what age-appropriate play looks like. However, side-by-side artwork? Sure. Reading out loud together? Yep. Trampolines and bikes and sledding? I’m in. Pretend play with tiny characters that resemble food and playing CandyLand 500 times in a row (or even just twice)…aahhhh it’s tough for me to find the stamina for more than 30 minutes. Adult brains don’t appreciate repetition as much and are more engaged with strategy, interaction, and competition. While adults should take time to hone their creativity, we have different ways of imagining than a young child because our imagination is influenced by our perception of reality and driven by pressures of responsibility.

There’s several reasons why we, as parents, have got to suck it up, Buttercup, and get into the habit of playing with our kids. Here’s a few:

  1. We can model healthy social and emotional behaviors. How do we react when “it’s not fair,” or someone else won? How do you model healthy relationships with pretend play? I tell ya what, my Ken doll could have used a couple lessons on consent.

  2. It’s precious time with them and as Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project says, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Make some other memories to offset the ones they’re sure to take to therapy sooner than later.

  3. What I think is THE most important reason: it opens up communication and trust between you and your children. This is different than modeling how to talk to someone, this is the real deal, baby. Have conversations while you play. Ask each other questions, share memories from when you were younger. Make jokes and validate the feelings that they communicate with you. THIS is where you plant the magical, tricky seeds. When they’re older they’ll be taken over by hormone zombies and begin having even bigger feels than when they were three and lost their sh*t about how the grilled cheese was cut. YOU will be there and they already know how to talk to you. They already trust you because over the years it’s been proven to them that they can talk to you about how they feel and you showed you care. Oh, but the magic seeds keep on growing. THEN, hopefully, your kiddo is now an adult making choices about relationships he/she/they want to be in. What do you think they’ll look for in a partner? Yep. Someone they can play with. No, kidding, it’s someone they can talk to, communicate effectively with, and someone they’ve developed trust with, because they know what that looks like. Because you played a damn game with them. Shhhh, my mission is to let you know a secret…parenting could be easier than you thought.

Now, what will you play? Listen to this story about how un-complicated this needs to be.

A childhood memory for me is playing a game called Huckle Buckle Beanstalk. The memory is very clear of my dad hiding a small object while my brothers and I left the room. When we came back we would be instructed to find the object with the standard hot if you’re near it and cold if you’re far from it. If you spied the item you had to be the first to (correctly) say, “Huckle Buckle Beanstalk!!” and snag it from the hiding spot. A real crowd-pleaser in the Capetta household…but we also weren’t allowed to watch TV, so it was just the kind of activity you’d find me doing after reading or dressing my younger brothers up as girls and forcing them to play “Olden Days” with me (circa Little House on the Prairie or Anne of Green Gables)…but I digress.

The other night I introduced Huckle Buckle Beanstalk to Liam and Nora. I’m quite the hype-gal and got them really excited to play the game. I baited them, telling them they had to get pajamas on and brush teeth first, for that was the Huckle Buckle way. They dashed off to get themselves ready for bed.

I have a collection of stones and crystals and we chose a small, round ruby-in-fuschite stone to use as the HBB. I hid first and sent L & N to the other room—NO PEEKING!! They came out with tails wagging and somehow the HBB hype lived up to its full potential. Every single time I went in the other room to be a seeker with one of them they would squeal and hug me like we were about to enter a candy store. We played 6 rounds before bed and they begged and begged to continue…just one more!?

You, too, could Huckle Buckle Beanstalk at your house!

When I began writing this post I reached out to my siblings and my dad. What was the object that we always used? I felt strongly that the HBB was the same thing every time, but couldn’t pull the image from my brain. No one else could either. SO, if you decide to bring HBB to your humble abode, know that the object is insignificant. My childhood is also ruined now that I’ve learned this game has been played since as early as the 1830s, which means my dad didn’t invent it. My dad gives credit to his fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Guiles, for teaching him HBB. My research also brought up the fun fact that there’s an episode in Full House where Michelle plays Huckle Buckle Beanstalk to hide Becky’s engagement ring. So, now you know ALL THE HBB THINGS.

Tell me what you’re playing at your house. Do you have a game from your childhood that you want to teach your kids?

Dedicated Parent and Dedicated Professional

WINNING THE DAMN DAY. Working parents are dedicated in both important job titles.

WINNING THE DAMN DAY. Working parents are dedicated in both important job titles.

Today my six year old daughter tested positive for strep. The second time in a month. At 3:30 am she had woken up with a low grade fever and whimpering that her throat hurt like strep again. I gave her Motrin and she fell asleep wrapped around the left side of my body, in my bed, as if being a mom makes me immune to these germs. I wish that was a mom perk but her brother and I both got strep after her in January so I can conclude there ain’t that kind of magic. I drove her into urgent care after we dropped her brother at school.

In January, I managed to only miss a total of about 3 days PTO, with 1 snow day, 1 school holiday, and 3 of us having strep. On one hand, I feel like that math is pretty damn good on my end. I mean, I was exhausted and worked when I wasn’t feeling well, and probably could have given my kid an extra day to recuperate… but I am a dedicated professional and the importance of staying on top of my tasks isn’t just something my employer expects from me, it keeps me from overwhelm and feeling anxious while managing and reaching my goals. I stayed late a few evenings and accomplished what I could from home to make the time that I needed as a dedicated parent less impactful on my time as a dedicated professional.

Do you feel like you’re crushing it as a professional and a parent? Let me be the one to tell you that you are. You are!! I’m celebrating all of us right now because I’m too hard on myself to give myself a pat on the back and I’m guessing you are too.

Today N sat on the patient bed while the Nurse Practitioner asked us questions about how we found ourselves there, again. N and I interjected a story about her waking up in the middle of the night, she describing the pain and me jumping in with specifics of the time, a 99.6 degree temperature, and that I had given her Motrin to help her get back to sleep.

“Your mama takes good care of you, doesn’t she? Aren’t you lucky to have a mama that takes good care of you,” The woman in scrubs and purple glasses stood up from her computer to prepare the strep kit swab. N nodded her head and tears sprang to my eyes, dangerously close to pooling and dripping down my face. Part of me was genuinely appreciative of that acknowledgement and the other part of me felt like the worst parent. I had my work bag on the floor by my feet and my phone was buzzing trying to communicate with my manager about why I wasn’t there and the unknown of my day at that point. My child, regardless of the test outcome, did not feel well. In fact, she declared she was a 7 on a scale of 1-10 for pain. To me that means entering active labor, but for six year old it means you feel like shit. Here I was, ready for the loophole that could let me drop her off at school so I could dash off for my face to be present at the office. I didn’t feel like a mama who takes good care of her kid, I felt swallowed up in assholeness and G U I L T.

The test, as we know, came back positive. I texted my manager the update. Nothing you can do about it, nothing you can do about it, I told myself, the anxiety of disappointing him sitting in my stomach like rocks.

It was still morning and the school policy is that with strep you need to be on antibiotics for 24 hours, so that you’re no longer contagious. I felt like I could squeak her in at 23 hours + some heavy germ scrubbing tomorrow morning if we raced to the pharmacy and shot that antibiotic back NOW. My manager asked if he should reschedule our meeting for tomorrow. All depending on the exact time of antibiotics entering the child’s system…the message sat unanswered while I drove to the pharmacy… where I was told that they were out of Azithromycin and had to re-order with a best estimate to get it tomorrow. What pharmacy runs out of a standard antibiotic in February???

After a few phone calls to make a Plan B happen rapidly, I found a new pharmacy that had it in stock and was about to get the prescription transferred, when pharmacy one said it was actually a computer glitch and they did have the prescription. N took the antibiotic at 2 pm and my anxiety and I came to grips with the reality that she would be home again tomorrow.

I did get a few hours of work in, so my work week was not completely shot, but the meetings still hung in limbo and the day left me feeling so torn between dedicated professional and dedicated parent that I ended up feeling like I was letting everyone down, yeah, including myself.

I celebrated that we parents rock the socks off of our jobs and parenting, but some of you (including myself) won’t feel like that’s quite enough. Let’s talk about this because it needs to get better.

Support. Maybe you actually have people in your life that aren’t at work or school and will risk being around your child with a communicable disease. I do not, so my form of support is telling my parenting peers and family how I’m feeling torn and unsuccessful at all the things and I let them give me mental and emotional support. Sometimes by way of taking something off my plate that doesn’t require them contaminating themselves.

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Do what you can, when you can. After the doctor and the pharmacy debacle we picked up lunch and a new toothbrush. Then I worked in my office space while the sick kid laid on the couch feeling too miserable to do anything else besides watch TV. I know she would have been happy with my body sitting near her, as my children have a magnetic pull like a moon to planet if I’m within a certain radius of their awareness…but the kid was just fine. Repeat that. Your sick child is fine on the couch while you work in another room for a little bit. Then I went down and parented the patient and sat with her for a few minutes. You want “work-life balance?” THAT, my friends, is what’s on either side of my see-saw. Not work + happy hour. Not work + vacation getaway. Not work + Netflix. It’s work + swim practice/basketball practice/homework/dinner/bedtime/DIDYOUBRUSHYOURTEETHNOREALLYI’LLCHECK/middle of the night bed hoggers/breakfast/MOMWHYAREN’TTHERECLEANCLOTHES/packing lunches/bags of snowgear bigger than my child/racing to work to find my un-spawned colleagues chatting over coffee.

That’s not balance and I don’t have an answer in this post besides support, doing your goddamn best, and celebrating yourself for doing any of this. Maybe the next answer comes from a question about what this support looks like from the corporate level. Maybe it’s society celebrating parents more and not just parents supporting parents. Raising humans, our next adults,…dude, that’s some serious work. What if we cultivated a society where parents are given a fair playing field to making awesome humans and contribute to the workforce in a successful way? What does that look like for each family? Maybe our hours look different. Maybe there’s some remote work. When I owned my own company I built my own work week. I worked late nights and sooo many hours, but I could manage from home if necessary, I could pick my kids up from school and get them to practice, and having a meeting via video conference was considerate of everyone’s time, not a privilege earned at a certain seniority in the company. Maybe it’s flexibility, respect, and trust. Let’s have more conversations. How can this rise?

The Truth About How I Do It

I hear the words, “I don’t know how you do it,” on average, 3 times a week.

I know it’s intended to be a compliment, and it’s usually partnered with something like, “You’re amazing!” but the truth is that I don’t know that I’m actually “doing it.” The truth is that every time I hear that I immediately count all the ways that I’m NOT doing it. The truth is that sometimes I don’t want to be doing it. And finally, the truth is that I don’t really know what IT is.

I’m a divorced mother of two children. They were 1 and 3 years old when we divorced. For over 5 years now, parenting and how I do it looks different than when I imagined it. I am parenting and dang it, I know I’m raising some respectful, thoughtful, and happy kids. I’m not throwing in the towel and maybe the power grip on my towel of life is the thing that I’m doing.

I sprint on a thin high-wire and every time I stop and take a minute to breathe I feel like I fall behind. Finances, laundry, what’s going on in the kids’ school, having groceries in the house, their extracurriculars, and my own health; every parent married or single is playing the game to keep it together. For me, I’ve felt like it’s impossible to keep all of the balls in the air. It’s only been a game of which ball I let drop, when.

I had strategies to keep my sanity. Exercise, yoga, meditation, balanced nutrition, friends. When I put the majority of my life and energy into founding a start-up company I dropped my health. When I left the start-up I dealt with financial struggles. Without those strategies in place everything got increasingly difficult. I looked for quick fixes to find happiness and happiness limped away.

During that time I went into adrenal fatigue. This affected sleep, I gained weight, my joints were inflamed, I was in a fog. I study gut-brain health and I knew exactly what was going on…but another symptom is increased anxiety and depression and I began to lose the capability to use the healthy tools I’m trained to use. I’ve studied yoga for years, I’m a nutrition advisor, I’m trained in facilitating guided meditation and energy work. I’ve worked with therapists and spiritual practitioners and have great mental health tools for everyday practice. But now I felt like there was a depression canyon between me and the tools I knew how to use. There was so much in my life I had to keep on track and it constantly felt like I was about to fly off.

The kids, though, I bet they never realized that blip of mommy not feeling good all the time. We still played and went places and I loved them hard because that’s what those little nuggets deserve. If I give up then they are robbed and I would never allow that.

Today my mental health is in check and everything teeters in a careful balance. I’m doing it, but you’re right in wondering how I do it, because it can be just as exhausting as it seems.

One evening a friend got my kids from their childcare, cleaned my kitchen, and got dinner started for me. I could weep just thinking about it. When my mom comes to visit and folds my laundry I could not be more appreciative or love her one ounce more.

The next time you want to compliment anyone with, “I don’t know how you do it,” I invite you to try this instead: “What is something I can do to help you out this coming week?” It doesn’t have to be a gift or money or even cooking. Can I pick up your kids for you tonight so that you can get dinner started at a decent time? Can I help you fold laundry while we catch up and talk? Can I listen to the kids read books before bedtime so that you can get a head start on after-dinner cleanup?

The smallest drop can create the largest ripple and having one chance to get ahead creates more opportunities to keep life balanced. This is support, friendship, community. I pledge to also keep this in mind. Let’s human better, friends.

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